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Merrill/AgeWave Retirement Survey
Old 06-06-2013, 09:47 AM   #1
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Merrill/AgeWave Retirement Survey

Anyone else read this recent survey on retirement?
Don't pretend to understand the scientific validity of their stats/methods, but basically a 2012-13 survey of 6,000+ US folks aged 45+ (pre-retirees, ER's, & "normal" age retirees).
To me, most findings were predictable, but I was surprised that well over half said they were retiring earlier than they planned, and only ~1/3rd said they ER'ed due to FI. Most other articles seem to suggest that since '08/9 downturn folks are working longer & delaying ER to achieve FI first. Also- I was puzzled by responses to their 4 "key elements of retirement piece of mind"- financial security, health, family well-being, and personal purpose. Top element was "personal purpose" for just 12% of folks. From comments here, I would have guessed PP would have ranked higher
Not quite ER'ed yet, so very curious about what the 'real' ER's here think.

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Old 06-06-2013, 10:07 AM   #2
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I thought figure 21 was interesting. It wouldn't fit the crowd here.

(It shows that people working with a financial advisor have a greater peace of mind about retirement than those not working with a FA).

I suspect that's because many with assets greater than 250k, abdicate and use a FA rather than DIY. So it's probably a reflection of having assets. (Those without assets or smaller assets would not have peace of mind AND would not be working with a FA)

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Old 06-06-2013, 10:08 AM   #3
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If there are serious shortcomings in any of the first 3 areas financial security, health, family well-being, then I could see why folks would not get hung up on Personal Purpose. Seems like this might be an analogy to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Stated in another way, the slice of people that you see here on may not be representative of the population as a whole of retirees in terms of unmet needs.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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I can't help but think about Steve Martin in The Jerk: "Wait a minute - what's happening to my special purpose!?"
We are, as I have said, one equation short. Keynes
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #5
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From the article,
Although pre-retirees think a reliable income
is what they’ll miss most when leaving work, retirees tell us
that it is the social connections that they miss most after
they retire

That would certainly explain the preponderance of INTJ's on this forum. As one of them, I know that honestly I haven't missed the social connections at all. I do a lot better with one-on-one interactions and solitude.

Also, I was surprised to see the graph showing that the number one reason for early retirement was health problems.

Figure 23 shows that only 23% define "retirement" as "stopping work permanently". Discussions on the forum tend to bear that out, although personally I agree with the old fashioned definition of "stopping work permanently".

As for "personal purpose" - - in the article it was defined as, "Personal purpose: having meaningful retirement goals, faith/spirituality, social connections, and personal legacy." To me that is a pretty nebulous concept that doesn't have the urgency of financial security, so I am not too surprised that it was not the main reason for retirement peace of mind.
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
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I thought it was pretty good, thanks for the link. I didn't see anything that surprised me, and I felt the same as the majority in most cases (other than using an FA, but the graph wasn't surprising). I do miss the social connections from work, and I'd welcome an encore career doing something different than my first career, but not actively looking yet. I wasn't interested in maximizing wealth, just having enough to live comfortably with some safety factor. And I do worry about health care expenses/issues and running out of money more than other foreseeable issues.

I thought the conclusion (below) was representative based on everything else I've read about retirement. Just don't need Merrill's help.
New retirees and those nearing retirement are looking forward to their “bonus years.” They see life in retirement as filled with opportunity and a chance to enjoy a Second Act. However, they don’t know exactly what to expect during, or how to successfully manage, a long, complex and ever-changing retirement. And a long life in retirement brings worries about outliving their money, health and healthcare costs, family interdependencies, the loss of quality of life, and being isolated and lonely.
These findings suggest people would benefit from at least six things:
• A better understanding of the issues critical to retirement, risks they face and what they need to prepare for
• A clear definition of their goals and what is most important to them in retirement
• Knowledge of potential trade-offs they must consider
• An ability to examine various scenarios and the potential outcomes of decisions they are being asked to make
• A plan of action that puts all their resources to work to help them to live their very best lives in retirement
• An ability to correct course when circumstances warrant
In short, we believe people want and need to know more about their retirement years before they are upon them, to gain greater clarity about what they want to achieve, and to understand what is possible in this stage of life.
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
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Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
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At one time - when I was in my 20's and 30's and immortal - the most important issue was "personal purpose." I am glad that I went through financial and personal difficulties when I was younger so that I have had a chance to re-align my life. I realized that I had to work, of all things

Having "enough" financially is the cornerstone for all the rest to be supported - here in the material world, on this planet. Yes, health, family harmony, social connections, and having a spiritual practice are important to fill in the rest of one's metaphorical building of life.

An old friend once said, "It's easier to be spiritual when you have money than when you don't."

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